Good Terrorists

August 24, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

“A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical.” When psychologist Solomon Asch, in 1946, told American students that the quote was from Lenin, they rejected the idea. Told that Jefferson was the author (and he was), they tended to agree with it. After all, the Fourth of July is a celebration of revolution, i.e., rebellion.

Fast forward to the present, and let’s talk about terrorism. I thought the word terrorist was an automatic red flag. Remember Sarah Palin’s “pals around with terrorists” slur on Obama because he had served in a couple of education and anti-poverty organizations that Bill Ayres was also part of?

Suppose a Congressman holds a public meeting at which a member of the audience says, “I’m a terrorist.” How would any US politician respond? Would he denounce the man, or would he call him “a great American”?

Think again.

Wally Herger is a Congressman from Northern California, and last week he held a town hall meeting on health care.

I guess a little terrorism now and again is a good thing, so long as it’s right-wing terrorism. To what extent will the far right wingers convert their admiration for terrorism from words into actions? The record of terrorist attacks on abortion clinics and abortionists gives us some cause for concern.

Update, August 27. The video of the exchange between the self-proclaimed terrorist and Rep. Herger shows that the man uses the phrase right-wing terrorist almost in quotation marks, as if to preface his proclamation by something like, “Supporters of Obama have called us ‘right-wing terrorists.’ In that case, I am a proud right-wing terrorist.”

But as far as I know, nobody has called these tea-baggers and other assorted wingnuts terrorists unless they have in fact committed terrorist acts. Google the phrase and all you will find are references to this guy at the town hall meeting and to the Homeland Security report on real right-wing terrorists.

(HT: Mark Kleiman)

1 comment:

maxliving said...

All terrorists are equally evil, but some terrorists are less evil than others?

It seems that aside from Barney Frank ( most of the politicians at these town hall meetings are saying whatever it takes to appease the loudest constituents.